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Thanks for weighing in, Stella. I've just heard from Sheel via email with an apology, and now I've just gotten off the phone with Sean. He apologized for the support requests that have been dropped during the transition to GroupOn. At his request, I've removed the "Reflection" part of my piece, which admittedly engaged in unfounded speculation. I apologize.

I'd also like to apologize to Sean and the team for not trying harder to contact them personally. For example, there is an email address and other contact info listed for Sean on the FeeFighter's About page (I had been looking at the Samurai About page):


I believe that Sean and his team are making a good-faith effort to integrate FeeFighters with GroupOn. I've suggested to him that bringing back the three advertised support channels could be a good next step to maintain trust (the toll-free number, the Campfire chatroom, and the ZenDesk).

I freely admit that I've tried to "make lemonade" from what otherwise was a bad situation for Gittip, by publishing this piece and submitting it to Hacker News. I appreciate Sean for calling me and working through the issue together at a personal level. I have no hard feelings towards him and his team, and I wish them all the best as they try to tame the complexity of a significant acquisition, for which, in the end, they are to be congratulated.

I worry that this sentence: "I freely admit that I've tried to "make lemonade" from what otherwise was a bad situation for Gittip, by publishing this piece and submitting it to Hacker News." is perhaps the most important here. It wouldn't be such a big deal if this was a rant against an established brand like a large technology company. But to target individuals and name names - only to then do essentially a complete 180 after one phone call - is problematic and perhaps everything that's wrong with the power of forums like this and twitter.

And he removed the big name-calling rant section after the phone call... the one set off by a loss of 51 dollars. Looks more like a publicity stunt rather than righteous outrage.

$51 or $51,000,000 a client is a client, and you have a contract (or you fucking should do) to provide a service.

3 weeks is breach, esp. without informing your clients so that they can at least investigate other avenues / allow them to mitigate your issues as a business.

This isn't high school ~ running around saying "But he's only posting to get attention, waaa waaa" is pathetic, and not how businesses (should be) run.

~ General levels of business acumen here are severely lacking.

Publicity stunt or righteous outrage? I'll have the salmon.

> I'd also like to apologize to Sean and the team for not trying harder to contact them personally.

That sounds like an odd thing to apologize for. You should not have to dig up personal contact information to get minimal customer service.

And I should be held accountable to dig up personal contact information before publishing zingy blog posts.

Same with me, I just completed my merchant account with Feefighters to be able to use Samurai. I've tried all the support emails, including calling the phone # and leaving a voicemail. My original contact was Sheel and Sean but they are not even replying to their personal emails @feefighters.com. It's good that I haven't switched to their service yet but I am assuming they are NOT continuing this service anymore?

My impression of Fee Fighters was pretty low before I read this, but after reading your apology I can't even begin to imagine how terrible this company must be.

It's one thing for them to disregard the utter failure of letting a billing service unattended and broken for three weeks, but another thing to contact their clients and force them into a public apology. The tone of your message ("I'd also like to apologize to Sean and the team for not trying harder to contact them personaly...") really makes it seem like you're being threatened here.


"We've just been acquired and now have GroupOn's lawyers on retainer. Our fish is bigger than your fish".

I love the fact that this minor tea-cup vignette reeks of being less than professional, and GroupOn is involved. "Food stamps for the middle classes", run by con-men. And you don't expect shit to stick together? Such naivety.

For the record, 3 weeks no contact from a business that's handling the cash flow for this poor guy (whose sales are admittedly... tiny, but hey, he appears to be trying in good faith), and you've the balls to phone hustle away the bad PR you caused yourself? Luckily, small startup doesn't know what "breach of contract" is, and you've GroupOn's lawyers now...

Alt text: "In the race to the bottom, we'll take the low hanging fruit".

[edit for clarity] Obviously, @Sean, not the author of the post I replied to.

I'm with the side of people saying you shouldn't have to apologize. That's like saying you apologize for not finding Tim Cook's personal email when iCloud is down and they ignore your calls, support tickets, emails, inquires at the genius bar, posts on their support forum, etc.

It's THEIR responsibility as representatives (and owner) of THEIR company to make themselves available via the information THEY provided, on the site you signed up for THEIR services.

They deserve the zingy blogpost and don't deserve your apology.

This is bad business and frankly I would stay far away from them despite your newfound guilt.

Edit: Switched out Steve Jobs for Tim Cook and removed the 2nd repetitive analogy.

Don't apologize. This was apparently the only possible way they would respond (which you didn't know anyway). Remember all the tweets, emails and stuff they flat-out ignored.

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